Mark Altman’s Review Of Star Trek Into Darkness

TrekMovie, in its desire to provide a broad response to the release of the latest Star Trek film, reached out to Free Enterprise writer/producer and founding publisher of Geek Magazine, Mark A. Altman, for his thoughts on the latest film. After much cajoling, a reluctant Altman, who the Los Angeles Times once called, “the world’s foremost Trekspert” agreed to share his thoughts with us (with no major spoilers).


by Mark Altman

NOTE: Review contains some spoilers – but nothing not seen in any trailer, clip or TV spot.

I have a secret to share with you if you promise not to tell anyone. The original Star Trek movies are just not very good. There, I said it – so let’s just keep it between us. There are many reasons why this is the case, starting with the fact that one of the few of the film series to actually get a motion picture worthy budget was Star Trek: The Motion Picture, a film which was brutally lambasted for aping the plot of earlier, better episodes and primarily consisted of the principal cast, mouths agape, marveling at the bridge viewscreen. Which isn’t to say I don’t love Star Trek: The Motion Picture, I do. But, of course, that doesn’t make it a great movie – or even a good one, but it is Star Trek and it is a movie, one of the few that has remarkable scope and captures a true sense of the mystery of the cosmos. It also has an overture and five minutes of Kirk ogling the Enterprise that is one of the most majestic and beautiful scenes in the history of the franchise and fills me with pure joy every time I watch it. Likewise, Star Trek II, widely praised as the best of the Star Trek movies, is wildly entertaining, despite its diminished budget, anchored by a literate script from the erudite Nicholas Meyer and a powerful performance from Ricardo Montalban, desperate to shed his Mr. Rourke trappings, back in 1982. Still, Khan is not nearly as great as some of the best episodes of the series. And Star Trek III, the less said, the better. I’ve had enough of you. IV is what it is, enjoyable fluff with a prescient eco-message and some insufferable slapstick and V is a victim of its own inadequate budget. Star Trek VI is a movie which also suffered as a result of budget, recycling sets – and ideas – from other better Trek’s, but still has some nifty setpieces (including the zero-g assassination sequence) and a humdinger of an ending even if its murder mystery isn’t very mysterious and plays like a warmed over version of Seven Days In May.

The interesting thing about the Star Trek movies is they were always reverse engineered with the studio knowing about how much they would/could make and backing into a budget as a result. Trek performed like clockwork, but was never the huge moneymaker of the bigger, more respectable franchises and it was also treated that way. While Star Wars got all the love, Star Trek was the old reliable chestnut that would come out every three years and fill the company coffers but never get taken seriously by the either the studio or the critical establishment.

And then in 2009, J.J. Abrams comes along and is the first director since the great Robert Wise to be handed a sizable wad of cash to go and make a Star Trek film. His prime directive: go big or go home. And whether you love or hate that film, there’s no denying it was a huge box-office success and successfully resurrected the hibernating katra of the franchise that was in a state of permanent hibernation (sorry for mixing my metaphors there, but you get the point). Some fans couldn’t or wouldn’t accept the heresy of recasting our beloved Kirk and Spock and reconceiving Trek for the next generation (and China, Russia and Latin America, all part of the new world order in international box-office receipts). Ironically, the whole argument had echoes of the petulant late 80s tirade by fans against Harve Bennett’s Starfleet Academy which would have recast younger actors in the iconic roles. What was Abrams supposed to do?  Make a film with Shatner, Nimoy and the rest of the living cast which is exactly what I would have done – and about a hundred of my closest friends…and maybe you would’ve seen. That’s not a film that’s going to reboot the franchise, honor its origins and take Star Trek where its boldly never gone before.

There’s plenty about the 2009 reboot that I didn’t love; the slapstick Willy Wonka antics with Scotty as Violet Beauregarde, the more taste/less filling engine room, an anemic villain with a revenge plot straight out of a 1966 episode of Batman (“I’ll stand you on a planet and watch you watch your planet blow up, heh, heh”) and the fact that the bully who beats up Kirk in the bar wasn’t named Finnegan, but what it did have in spades and trumped all that was heart and plenty of it as well as the bromance-in the-making of Kirk and Spock. It also had a few delightful new tricks up its sleeves like the Spock/Uhura romance and it even had the audacity to blow up Vulcan – and not put the pieces back together again in some kind of temporal Humpty Dumpty time loop. And, of course, it also had the great Leonard Nimoy at his most rabbinical.

So four years later, its time for an encore. J.J., Bryan Burk and his team of ace filmmakers including screenwriters Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof have managed to trump their previous exercise in shaking the cobwebs off the franchise and escape the trap of having our ensemble stare out into space from the bridge with a film that not only honors canon and occasionally toys with the hopes, dreams and fears of the nostalgic like me, but moves at a breakneck pace while telling a story that feels very contemporary and, at the same time, very Trekkian. Much like Skyfall did last year with James Bond, Into Darkness pays homage to the Trek canon and sets the table for the next film to be its own singular entity having solidified the bona fides of the new Trek universe and characters in a thoroughly captivating fashion. Into Darkness makes some ballsy choices, a few of which are likely to upset some die-hard fans. But the fact is, as the condescending Trek tagline in 2009 proclaimed, this isn’t your father’s Star Trek. You’re damn right it’s not, but who the hell’s going sit for two hours to watch the big screen version of “The Empath.” But here’s the rub: whatever happens in this universe in no way compromises or diminishes what has come before and can exist side-by-side with the original adventures of Shatner & Company. I mean, let’s face it, Shatner is the Sean Connery of Star Trek, as the tagline for Star Trek: The Motion Picture exclaimed, there is no comparison. So it’s hard to measure up, but damned if Chris Pine doesn’t come close. He manages to make this incarnation of Kirk his own: part James Dean and part Han Solo and yes, even part, Bill Shatner. And the new movie gives Pine’s Kirk a great arc as he is forced to confront his own version of the no-win scenario. The Kirk/Spock dynamic here is one of the most satisfying aspects of the new film and also the most faithful to the spirit of Classic Trek. If I have any quibbles, it’s that the great Karl Urban is slightly underserved as McCoy despite remaining an essential part of the Trek troika of id, ego and superego.

One of the things that really resonated for me about Into Darkness was the fact that, like the best Star Trek stories, the film has an important, and very relevant message at its heart, about not throwing away our ideals when confronted with dangerous threats to our civilization and a strong indictment of Cheney-esque and Rumsfeldian politics. In a free society, our democracy cannot just be words on a piece of paper, but have real meaning that we live by … even when inconvenient. Just ask the Komm’s and the Yang’s. And I think Kirk’s turnabout on the intruders in the first act is a powerful character moment, which while echoing Star Trek VI, is handled far more adeptly. Star Trek has always inherently been a television series and the challenge of any movie is opening the format up enough to accommodate an epic scope and theatrical setpieces without sacrificing the character moments that are at the very heart of the franchise. Into Darkness juggles that extremely well and the Kirk/Spock relationship remains a dynamic that gives the film a lot of its juice. Like most of the Trek films that preceded it, the challenge of servicing the entire ensemble often results in some superfluous scenes for the supporting characters (Chekov, most of all) and the production design remains mildly problematic to me (Bud Lite, anyone), but overall this is a immensely entertaining, humorous and, at times, touching film that delivers on all the expectations one might have for Star Trek. There are also some welcome supporting turns from the stunning, but credible Alice Eve as Carol Marcus and Peter Weller, giving his best performance in years. And Benedict Cumberbatch, brilliant in Sherlock, does not disappoint as the enigmatic John Harrison.

Obviously, the biggest challenge for the filmmakers of any big-budget action franchise are to deliver viscerally engaging and original action sequences which Star Trek has never done particularly well. Yes, Star Trek II has the suspenseful battle in the Mutara Nebula, Trek VI has the aforementioned zero-g assassination sequence and First Contact has the deflector dish combat with the Borg. Into Darkness has a number of action scenes, writ large, most of which work far better in 3-D than 2-D. And in the interest of full disclosure let me say, I hate 3-D. I hate it. As someone who remembers all too well the great 3-D renaissance, and I use the term loosely, of 1983 with Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone, Parasite and Jaws 3-D, I have no affinity for 3-D whatsoever. And yet I feel this film works far better in 3-D, particularly the action sequences whose impact is clearly designed to be maximized in the format which gets a great stenographic transfer. I love the cold teaser on an alien planet, where in true “Paradise Syndrome” fashion Kirk’s trying to stop the annihilation of a primitive alien world which culminates in one of my favorite match dissolves ever in a movie. There’s also a kinetic pursuit when Kirk and Spock evade the Klingons and make the Kessell Run in less than 12 parsecs and some later action setpieces that are equally inventive.

If I have any quibble with Into Darkness, it’s the ship-to-ship space combat falls victim to the same problems most recent sci-fi movies have. While the space fantasies I grew up were all influenced by submarine movies like The Enemy Below and Run Silent, Run Deep those filmmakers grew up on and the combat was slow and methodical, today’s space battles all seemed patterned on video games and happen too fast without any sense of geography or consequence. I’ll never forget watching the lumbering Reliant attacking the Enterprise on “Siskel & Ebert” for the first time and being awestruck by the Enterprise being carved to ribbons by a phaser beam. The culminating space battle in the Mutara Nebula is a textbook example of how to do a cat and mouse space battle. In Into Darkness everything unfolds so quickly that’s its tough to build to a crescendo when everything takes place at such a heightened pitch. And its equally difficult to create the emotional resonance of the Enterprise flaming out in the sky above the Genesis Planet when you haven’t established Kirk’s love and obsession with his one true love, his ship. Right now, it’s like a Timex watch, it takes a licking, but keeps on ticking. But that’s what makes the Star Trek universe such a wonderful sandbox and helps keep me excited about the future which is why these are all minor quibbles with a film that is successful in so many ways. There’s a light touch to the movie, which never diminishes its gravitas and a respect for the source material, that’s so essential. And this film also marks J.J.’s emergence as a mature filmmaker with a sure-handed mastery of both smaller, more intimate character moments as well as the larger action setpieces. As much as I love Mission: Impossible 3 and the first half of Super 8, it’s hard to argue that this is his best directed film.

As Michael Giacchino’s wonderful score culminates with a reprise of the classic Trek theme and the Enterprise prepares to head out on its five year mission, I couldn’t help but be excited about the prospects for the future; not just for this crew but future television series, webisodes and who knows what else. As Carol Marcus eyes Kirk on the bridge, I couldn’t help but think how nice it would be to see Kirk get things right this time and not be an absentee father to David, watch as the five year mission unfolds and maybe even see a new television series with the rebooted Next Generation cast or maybe even Kirk and Carol Marcus’ son in command. Whether we’ll see any of that, who knows. But what I do know, is a phrase that I’ve heard many times before and am likely to hear many more times in the future: Star Trek Lives!

MARK A. ALTMAN is the writer/producer of the award winning, cult classic Free Enterprise starring William Shatner and Eric McCormack. He has been a writer/producer on such hit television series as Castle, Necessary Roughness and Femme Fatales and is the founding publisher of the bestselling magazine, Geek Magazine, available at newsstands everywhere. Altman has also produced numerous feature films including James Gunn’s The Specials and DOA: Dead or Alive, based on the hit video game series. You can follow him on Twitter at @markaaltman.

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Interesting thoughts!

Also: Need to know why you think Urban is ‘undeserved’ as Bones, and why you only love the first half of Super 8 (I don’t like any of it).

Great review and I hope the writers, boborci and co, catch on to your note about Kirk getting it right by his Son this time, where as he has grown up without a father in this timeline, David can maybe grow up with one now… still, I guess that depends on how long this new continuity continues and if the writing staff sticks around!

I love the comment about ” who the hell is going to sit for 2 hours to watch the big screen version of the Empath”. LOL

Well. I’d always enjoyed Mark Altman’s work back in the glory days of his TNG coverage for the late, great Cinefantastique, even as I took exception to much of what he wrote regarding TOS-Remastered on this site (and publicly said so). But much as I detested J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot, this review (and, among others, that published by Forbes today) give me hope that I will enjoy INTO DARKNESS nevertheless. Please, make it so.

“V is a victim of its own inadequate budget”

Ooh, that’s being kind. There was also the virgin director and the terrible script that knew the characters well in one scene and then acted as if it had never met them in the next. A confluence of unfortunate events, if you will.

RE: Kirk’s relationship with David in this timeline, I figure he may have a greater motivation to remain close to him, as in this reality he knows what it is to grow up without a father. Interesting prospects there.

Excellent review!

My favorite line: but who the hell’s going sit for two hours to watch the big screen version of “The Empath.”

Sounds good, but does Altman mean “it’s hard to argue that this is NOT his best directed film”? The context seems to indicate that Altman thought this was the most mature directing Abrams has done yet, so.

I can’t wait to see Benedict Cumberbatch playing Gary Mitchell’s brother aka The Salt Vampire!

Awesome idea about kirks son and rebooting TNG

This is my first time commenting on TrekMovie and it will likely be my last time as well, but I just needed to say that this review of the new movie and of all things Star Trek in general is one of the most objective, thoughtful articles I’ve read on this website (minus Anthony’s work, of course). The first paragraph alone regarding the original movies should be required reading for most people who regularly comment on this website. Outstanding work, Mr. Altman. And Anthony, thanks for all your work on TrekMovie. It’s much appreciated and I hope it continues.

I agree…

From TOS to TMP to TNG, we have had refits, rewinds, and we remembered.

Perhaps if J.J. were a fan it would “limit” or “diminish” the perspective of taking “first star to the right, and straight-on til morning?” Yes, of course…

But not off-course. It seems as if with every incarnation of Star Trek, through the various venues and flotsam and jetsam of advancing technology, it lives. I GROK Star Trek. I GROK J.J.’s vision much the same as Gene’s. I really get it.

With TOS, we really didn’t have much to work with, but they made it work and work it did. It put our imaginations to work. Combined with ideals which never fail and often-times pulling ourselves and morals up by the boot-straps, we stood tall.

This continued on-toward TNG, which passed the torch onto a “new generation,” and it is “logical,” admiral. We don’t grieve and as Whales weep not, neither do we. We like this new “reboot,” it’s exciting!

As the “Mirror Universe” added a polarized view of “another” TOS, J.J. has added “bread and circuses” to and “enhanced and expanded” vision of version which is very welcome among Trekkers, and perhaps Trekkies. I can GROK it, J.J. I really can…

It is very rare indeed, to have the opportunity to work within many dimensions; and you could even ALMOST go as far as your “imagination” and vision of perspective to say that the possibilities are infinite.

There’s no time like the present, as they say in temporal quantum physics, and I GROK this new “flashed and rebooted” version and vision which J.J. has transcribed and transmitted to us all.

And I haven’t even seen the movie yet…lol.

Peace and Long Life.
Live Long and Prosper

“ maybe even see a new television series with the rebooted Next Generation cast ´´.

Please, let us all wish this never happens. Enough with reboots. Star Trek has such a big universe.

And I do not agree with when you say that the older Trek movies were not that great. If they´re so bad, the reboot were not going to happen.

My main grip with these new movies aren´t the movies at all. I enjoyed them a lot.
It´s people saying how much they are superior and “cool´´ to the older stuff.

Until I see Into Darkness this Friday, my favorites Star Trek movies are TOWK and First Contact.

Sounds great can not wait just one more day away.

@Mark Alt,an,
“or maybe even Kirk and Carol Marcus’ son in command”

Now that’s a way to have your Kirk and eat it too!!

“‘Captain Kirk’ is my father, call me David”

@12 —

I don’t think he is saying they are bad. More to the point I think he is of the opinion that a lot of people tend to see the worst of them and the best of them with rose colored glasses.

The terrible ones aren’t that terrible and the good ones are the greatest movies ever made.

“…the film has an important, and very relevant message at its heart, about not throwing away our ideals when confronted with dangerous threats to our civilization and a strong indictment of Cheney-esque and Rumsfeldian politics. In a free society, our democracy cannot just be words on a piece of paper, but have real meaning that we live by … even when inconvenient.”

That is good to hear. I was very disappointed how some of the themes in The Dark Knight promoted unconstitutional crime fighting. Here’s hoping Kirk and crew will stand on higher ground. The last thing I want to see this Thursday is a Trekkified Patriot Act.

Most hard core “not my trek, I hate this stuff” crowd need to remember this line in his review

“One of the things that really resonated for me about Into Darkness was the fact that, like the best Star Trek stories, the film has an important, and very relevant message at its heart, about not throwing away our ideals when confronted with dangerous threats to our civilization and a strong indictment of Cheney-esque and Rumsfeldian politics.”

That sounds like Star Trek to me…

This is a great review, in depth and very eloquent.

I cannot place it until I see it but The Undiscovered Country remains my favourite Star Trek movie, followed closely by TWOK, TMP and Star Trek 2009. I love The Motion Picture for many reasons and Mark nailed it.

#2: He said “underserved,” not “undeserved.” It means Bones didn’t have enough to do in the movie.

Can’t say that I agree with most of that!

Good to see a reviewer who really gets what this movie is about!
All the haters should read it and rethink their opinion ;)

Although this article could have used a judicious amount of proofreading prior to posting, I think it’s correct about pretty much every point.

@ 16 – I agree. I can appreciate different opinions because both can be true and very relevant. I GROK it!

All this fuss about JJ not being a Star Trwk fan …

Remember that Nick Meyer wasn’t either. And look what he gave us.

@Grand Marshal Skaldak: He didn’t say “undeserved.” He said “under-served,” as in “under-used.”

Great and insightful review from a guy I’ve trusted for a long time. (I always looked forward to his annual season reviews of Next Gen back in the day.) Mr. Altman has that rare combination of reverence for the source material with an understanding of how the material has to evolve to survive and prosper. Plus, he isn’t shy about pointing out the warts either.

Now, more than ever, I’m really looking forward to seeing a GREAT (not perfect) Star Trek movie tomorrow night!

Thanks Mark!

” Shatner is the Sean Connery of Star Trek”


Think I’ll go and tweet that now.

With reference.

I LOVE Star Trek III. I don’t know why people are so critical of it. It was a very strong follow-up to Khan (considering the difficult and challenging plot line of actually bringing someone back from the dead, I thought they did a prett good job of not making it silly). It had some very bold moves in it, too.. Death of Kirk’s son, Theft of the Enterprise, a space battle, and the Destruction of the Enterprise. Good drama. About the only time we see someone get phasered by Kirk in any of the movies, too.

9. ^ ditto that question.

Glad to hear Mark enjoys the new movie. He’s really the most knowledgeable and circumspect Trek fan I’ve ever met–honest about what he loves and what he doesn’t.

I compelled my best friend to watch TWOK last year, since I knew he’d be my companion for STID. (Relax: he’s 30 and knows more about pop culture than several of you combined.) I love that film, but holy crap does it have terrible production values. The smoke machines when Kirk halts the Kobayashi Maru are cringe-inducing. Kirstie Alley’s cluelessness about her character and the story are apparent in every frame. TWOK looks significantly cheaper than modern television, and but for the Genesis video and ILM’s beautiful Mutara battle, the film could not visually hold up to contemporary audiences. Altman’s right. The movies are great only because of the characters and the occasionally great screenwriting. Glad he said it.

I would probably take exception with TWOK not being an objectively “great” movie just because of it’s small scale and budget, but the others I agree with.

I love TSFS, TVH and TUC to death, but they’re still very insidery and basically just glorified TV episodes.

Great review although spoiler free??? That last paragraph ruins the one of the mysteries of the film describing the final scene — that’s like saying Kirk is given the Enterprise at the end of 09 before having seen it.

To be fair the only people I’ve seen have a major problem with this movie are the die hard Trekkies who haven’t seen it yet, relying on any internet feedback that correlates their opinion that this should be a clone of the classic series. None of these people have a right to an opinion until they’ve seen it. The sad part is these are fans in high places in the fan community who don’t follow the Star Trek philosophy of not judging before you boldy go…

” Just ask the Komm’s and the Yang’s.” my favorite line.

“….. that I didn’t love; the slapstick Willy Wonka antics with Scotty as Violet Beauregarde” When I saw it I likened it more to being like Dick Van Dyke’s chimney sweep in Mary Poppins, but yours is a good one too.

@11. Dane,
“The first paragraph alone regarding the original movies should be required reading for most people who regularly comment on this website.”

Welcome to the Octagon.

Here’s the thing, even Atman’s review does what so many fans do … “You guys are idiots with your stupid nitpicks, I LOVED everything, except — that Bones didn’t get more to do” … or insert your favorite nitpick.

The bottom line is nobody can say they love this film 100% and everybody’s nitpick is just as silly as everybody else’s.

I don’t understand why there isn’t more tolerance here. Some attack ANY criticism of the new films with the voracity of a studio executive whose job depends on the success of the new film. The original films were great for what they were — products of their time. Is it OK that they represent a high water mark for some fans? Sure, why not? It’s OK for a fan to contrast the differences for themselves. And new is not always better — Poseidon Adventure and Willy Wonka, come immediately to mind. Besides, I think it’s pretty clear that Abrams’ Trek does not rely on those original fans for its success.

However, I disagree with Altman — the new films have little to do with the original series. They rely on the same formula that make any modern action adventure summer blockbuster successful. The fact they they skin it with the veneer of Star Trek doesn’t make it Trek. TOS was never widely popular when it was on the air, and that arguably was the most distilled version of the series, truest to what it was conceived to be. The subsequent movies followed suit, but as Altman points out, even they don’t truly represent the original experience. Perhaps that is the nature of motion picture adaptations.

Nevertheless, fans of TOS have every right to complain that the new films don’t measure up, or down, as the case may be. It seems the complaint here then is the old fans should just get with the program and accept this new formulation as the same as the original. But that’s like saying “New Coke” was the same original Coke, just improved for modern tastes. And while it’s true some people actually liked it, most didn’t, and it certainly wasn’t the same. The fact that Abrams’ Trek is liked by a majority of those who view it, certainly doesn’t negate the views of those who don’t, anymore than it can be said it’s no different from its predecessor. The reality is, it’s a lot easier to launch a successful new formulation of your soft drink when not that many people were drinking it to begin with, even at the expense of your original customers. So too with Star Trek.

If the original films are bad, then I’d hate to see what he thinks of the TNG films. I watched Generations and Nemesis on Syfy on Sunday and both felt right at home being on TV as movies..very made for TV quality. The only TNG film that felt like an actual movie was First Contact.

Trek 3 is one of my all time favorite Trek films..felt very TOS. Was the only trek film to start with the traditional “Space…the final frontier” intro..loved the risks it took by destroying the Enterprise, killing David and ending the careers of our heroes. Just awesome stuff…not to mention Kruge, my favorite Klingon villain since Kang/Kor/Koloth in TOS. THAT was a Klingon, back stabbing and vile, before TNG suddenly gave them honor, which was always odd and didn’t work well with TOS Klingons….

Also, the soundtrack was amazing. Anybody who picked up a copy of the expanded CD should know what i”m talking about. Probably the best Trek soundtrack besides TMP.

I agree with a lot that’s in here. I will, however, confess that I skipped a paragraph or two that had a “spoilery” vibe. Dang! Only 1 more day before I can read all the articles I want — come on Wednesday IMAX showing!

I have to say Star Trek the motion picture as well as Wrath of Khan are the 2 best films of the franchise to date for 2 totally different reasons. I have not seen into the darkness yet, so my view may change. The first picture is grand in scope, best cinematography to date, best visuals to give you the sense of scale and wonder of space travel. Its a movie that makes you think, and whose universe is truly visionary and different from from our own world, be it 1979 or even today. The wrath of Khan had great space battles and was a great movie more so because of the story rather than the special effects wizardry of the first film. All other movies in the franchised failed to capture either a strong story line or great effects. I am hoping this new film brings us both a good story and special effects to match either earlier films, minus of course the lens flare.

What I believed may have been possible when they rebooted Trek is to have used state of the art animation like they did in the new Tron film and have Shatner and Nimoy the rest of the living cast do a film with cgi technology making them appear as their younger versions. Also having said that, have old tv images of DeForest Kelley and James Doohan used again via cgi and incorporate them in a new film. Since this is a sc-fi film, why not use this technology to re-imagine Star Trek’s with past actors playing their original roles in a new movie, it would make for an interesting film. I realize it would be a much more labour intensive project, perhaps more expensive to produce, but it would have been spectacular on so many levels. Perhaps one day in the future when the franchise is rebooted again, a new director can look into making that a reality.

This review was a real breath of fresh air. especially after reading so many stupid juvenile comments (mostly on Facebook) on Star Trek articles.

Guess its an indictment of Obama administration as well.

@37 TreK Fan

I’m sorry, but that would be a horrid idea. I’ve watched Tron: Legacy twice, and while I like the movie (actually appreciated it more the second time I saw it), the de-aging of Jeff Bridges to play Clu is just downright creepy. The cgi used to do this looks best when static. However, when moving, it moves the face in such a way that it drops into the “uncanny valley”. Watching a Trek movie with this used on the entire cast would (in my opinion at least) be a dreadful watching experience.


You may be right, the technology is not perfect yet, but I think one day, perhaps soon, they will be able to use cgi along with old film footage or older actors and we will be able to see an old or dead actor as their younger self back on the silver screen.

37-my inner fanboy wants to agree with you, but the logic centers in my brain say no. Trek has to be refreshed for new audiences if it is to continue. If all you want is the original cast, then go watch TOS and films I-VI. I love re-watching them. They never get old to me. But Paramount ain’t going to make what it wants to make off people like you and me. At the end of the day, Trek is entertainment and entertainment is a business.

New Trek means new actors. And frankly, I think rebooting the TOS characters with a new cast every 15 years or so James Bond style versus creating whole new ships and crews that may or may not catch on is good business for Paramount. When this series runs its course, they’ll do what DC does with Batman and Superman- start over again.

Is every Trekike going to like every new version of Trek? Nope. And that’s OK. I’m a Bond fan who hated the Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton flicks but loves the Daniel Craig stuff. Some folks think its Connery or nothing. Some even thinks Bronson is best. Different strokes for different folks.

Or as Spock might put it, infinite diversity in infinite combination.



Don’t agree with everything he says, but a solid, thoughtful review. He knows his history. Considering variations in budgets, directors, writers, “the times”, technology, etc; it is a true wonder Star Trek has survived & thrived.

I’ve been a FAN (fanatic) for all 47 years. Good times, bad times, alien “nose pieces”, whatever. I even thought Nemesis was entertaining, I still watch it, even though I hated Data biting the big one.

Star Trek has TWICE the movies as Star Wars, had nearly 30 YEARS of live action TV series AND (thank God) not a Jar Jar Binks between them!

“As Carol Marcus eyes Kirk on the bridge, I couldn’t help but think how nice it would be to see Kirk get things right this time and not be an absentee father to David, watch as the five year mission unfolds and maybe even see a new television series with the rebooted Next Generation cast or maybe even Kirk and Carol Marcus’ son in command.”

Why does it have to be a son?

@41. TreK_Fan,
“they will be able to use cgi along with old film footage or older actors and we will be able to see an old or dead actor as their younger self back on the silver screen.”

Good lord, why would anyone want this? I don’t want to see some dead actor reanimated by who knows who. That’s not the actor. Period. Say what you will about an actor like Shatner, good or bad, he makes those choices. Who’s making the choices for the digital actor?

Perhaps there’s a place for aged actors to reprise their younger selves in a movie with this technology, flashbacks and such, but to carry the film as its central character?

No, let it go. I honestly don’t understand why any fans want to see the original actors continue on in this fashion. Why that is interesting to anyone is beyond me. What is so wrong with recasting? Since when was Star Trek ever about the actors? It’s about the stories. As long as the actor is true to the character, what difference does it make who plays it?

“….stunning, but credible Alice Eve.”

So, both don’t normally exist at the same time? Why isn’t the same applied to a handsome male actor, like Pine?

*shakes his fist at the computer screen* TREKKIEGALLLLLLL!!!!!!! Now I see chauvanism EVERYWHERE!!!! *LOL*

@44. Jeyl,
“Why does it have to be a son?”


But good point — anything can happen in this universe. I’d watch it. Toss in a few episodes with Chris Pine playing “dad” via subspace Skype …

I think the reality is, as I pointed out above, the powers that be would want to “have their Kirk and eat it too”. In other words, re-cast Kirk in a franchise where Pine is already cast as Kirk in the movies. So it’s a TV reboot, with Captain Kirk still flying the ship which is not in conflict with Pine’s Kirk in the movies, assuming he continues past the third film.

45. Jeyl – May 14, 2013
“As Carol Marcus eyes Kirk on the bridge, I couldn’t help but think how nice it would be to see Kirk get things right this time and not be an absentee father to David, watch as the five year mission unfolds and maybe even see a new television series with the rebooted Next Generation cast or maybe even Kirk and Carol Marcus’ son in command.”

Why does it have to be a son?


Oh wow….when I read that part of the article, my mind went into fanboy meltdown – Rebooted series starring Captain David Kirk in the Rachel Garrett Era. But you’re absolutely right. Since the child probably won’t be conceived at the exact same time as David Marcus, it wouldn’t be David, or necessarily a boy. Hmmnnn….I’d watch a series with a Leonora Spockina Kirk *LOL* But the more I think of it, it’d probably be better to have the character (male or female) reduced to a lesser role, like maybe even First Officer, because the whole focus of the show would be about comparisons to Kirk senior.

And that would also mean…….Shatner cameos!!!

“I have a secret to share with you if you promise not to tell anyone. The original Star Trek movies are just not very good. ”

I’m glad someone has the courage to say it. I can barely admit it to myself. I love the TOS movies, mostly because of the comraderie between the crew and the Big Three. Not because they were outstanding movies. And I also have to examine the fact that I saw the original movies when I was a kid, and that inherently makes things seem better than they are. I was an adult when the NextGen movies started coming out, so I knew how horrible they were *LOL* But ST09 was the first movie that I could actually recommend to people who weren’t Trek fans, and I did to as many people as I could. Admit it – although you can sell PARTS of the TOS movies to people – such as the Mutara Nebula scene, the Spock Death scene, etc, can you sell any of those movies to someone who doesn’t like Trek? Probably not.